Centerville Civic Association Holds Meeting on Short-Term Rentals

CENTERVILLE – Massachusetts lawmakers reached a deal last year that taxes short-term rentals such as those offered through Airbnb.

The Centerville Civic Association held a discussion and meeting on the topic Monday night, letting concerned citizens and officials speak their mind.

“This whole issues just came to my attention a couple weeks ago and I guess I was pretty shocked to hear some of the experiences that people have been having with short term rentals in their neighborhoods,” said Centerville Civic Association President David Sauro.

“I did not realize how hot of issues this was, so we decided to hold an open public meeting so more people could attend and express their thoughts and ask questions.”      

The tax was put in place as a response to hotel companies who were being taxed while short-term rentals locations, like Airbnb were not.

The bill that was passed last summer extends the 5.7 percent hotel tax to short-term rentals through online services such as Airbnb and allows municipalities to collect up to an additional 6 percent lodging tax and another 3 percent if an owner rents our two or more units in the same community.

An additional 2.75 percent exercise tax specifically for Barnstable County funds water quality improvements through the area.

A short term rental is considered a property that is rented for 31 days or less.

The tax will not be enforced on short term rentals that are rented 14 days or less total per year however.

Some who attended the meeting said the law is unclear and unfair.

The Town of Barnstable is trying to figure out other regulations and how to move forward with the newly implemented tax.

“A lot of you are probably aware of the survey that is up for the month of October, that’s really gathering big picture news on short-term rentals,” said Paul Wackrow, Principal Planner for the town of Barnstable.  

“We want to start to craft regulations that are appropriate for the community and respond to various concerns.”   

Many citizens at the meeting brought up concern with the survey with many pointing out that anybody can take it, regardless of where they live, possibly skewing results.

Wackrow acknowledged that issue and said that forums and public meetings are also just as important as the survey.

Town Councilor Britt Beedenbender agreed with Wackrow in that public forums and community meetings are going to play a major role in defining what this new law means for the town of Barnstable and Barnstable County as whole.

Citizens were able to express concerns and ask questions at the meeting, which is likely to be the first of many until the Town of Barnstable decides on a plan of action moving forward.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.
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